Southwest Chinese Journal (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 2, Ed. 1 Wednesday, February 1, 1978 Page: 19 of 20
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hi Southwest Chinese Journal
Rose Don Wu
! only single Chinese girls in those days. As the number of
; Chinese in the city grew, she organized a Chinese-American
Citizens Club to promote good relations between the Chinese
community and the rest of Tuscon, The Chinese community in
Tuscon today is one of the most financially successful and
Americanized in the nation. She also worked for various
charitable causes and occasionally performed Chinese dances.
In 1929 a friend of Rose invited a young man named
Theodore Wu from San Fransisco to visit Tuscon. Since she
was the only Chinese girl who could drive a car at that time
he asked her to show them around. Apparently Theodore Wu
was more impressed with Rose than he was with Tuscon because
he got her to become his wife, and moved them both to San
Mrs. Wu describes San Antonio in the early 1930's as a
"mudhole", because there were still many unpaved streets.
They began, like so many other Chinese in Texas, with a
grocery store, but changed to the restaurant business a few
years later. Mrs. Wu still runs the Tai Shan on Broadway as
she has for over 30 years, and the Hilton Hotel now rises
on the site of their old grocery store.
Having to contend with a totally new enviornment did not
put a damper on Rose's desire to become involved in the com-
munity. Mrs. Wu's most visible contribution to the history
of Chinese Americans in Texas was her role in preventing
the passage of a bill prohibiting Chinese and Japanese aliens
from owning land in Texas in 1937. The bill was aimed spe-
cifically at the Chinese grocers in San Antonio and was ini-
tiated by a man named A.L. Becker, head of the San Antonio
Retail Merchants Assoc. and the operator of a chain of grocery
stores. He testified before a Texas Senate Committee that
"the Chinese are secretive and seldom seen", that "the purpose
of the bill was to stop the heavy influx of aliens into Texas
from West Coast states which have already enacted similar
laws", and that the Chinese grocers' frugal way of operating
their businesses constituted unfair competition.
Mrs. Wu testified in response that the number of Chinese
grocery stores was not enough to present any kind of competi-
tion to the big chains and that the proposal was clearly dis-
criminatory against Chinese and Japanese.
Due to the protests of the Chinese community,and.probably
more importantly,their strategy of getting the Texas cotton
farmers who feared a boycott by Japan and China of their pro-
duct, to lobby with them, the bill was killed in committee.
HAVE THE SOUTHWEST CHINESE JOURNAL MAILED
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THE SOUTHWEST CHINESE JOURNAL
3914 LEELAND AVE. HOUSTON, TX. 77003
I iiit i'M . h Ac fiY j'li M f-lx Vt nf M 4^
ROSE DON WU
During the eight year long war (1937 - 1945) between Japan
and China, many Chinese Americans held fund raising activities
to support the China effort. Mrs. Wu and her husband sponored
picnics and gaming parties during this period, and sent the
proceeds to the war relief fund. Mr. Wu was also a founding
member of the San Antonio CACA and was active in city affairs.
When he died in March of 1961, the city hall of San Antonio was
closed for the day in his honor.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rose Wu is that her
involvement is not limited to just the Chinese groups in the
city. During a period where Chinese were subject to many dis-
criminatory laws and policies such as: wives of Chinese Amer-
ican citizens were not permitted to come to the U.S. from China;'
if an American born Chinese woman married a foreign born Chinese
she automatically lost her citizenship; Chinese were often not
allowed to use certain public swimming pools or to sit with
whites in churches, Rose Don Wu actively paricipated and still
participates in many predominately Anglo groups. These include
"Zonta", an International business and professional women's
service club, Women's Federation, Inc., an association of all
women's clubs in the San Antonio area, and the Eastern Stars, th
women's chapter of the Masons. She was also sent by the mayor
of San Antonio to South America on a goodwill mission, and she
was one of the city's community leaders chosen to go to Washingt
D.C. to promote Hemisphere 1968.
A community leader and business woman, Mrs. Wu has also
raised four children and is a grandmother to six. Her children
are Mrs. Lincoln Yu (Barbara) in San Antonio, Mrs. Lo Yi Chan
(Mildred) in New York, Mrs. William Wong (Priscilla) in Dallas,
and Ted Wu, an attorney residing in Houston and married to the
former Linda Gee.
The many achievements and honors Rose Wu has earned, reflec
a successful attitude towards life: give the best you have to
the world, and the best will come back to you. The traits nec-
essary to follow this axiom, self respect, confidence, and com-
passion, are found in abundant supply in Rose Dor Wu.
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Southwest Chinese Journal (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 2, Ed. 1 Wednesday, February 1, 1978, newspaper, February 1, 1978; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth273744/m1/19/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University Woodson Research Center.